Yosemite Firefall

A few weekends ago, we ventured up to Yosemite in an attempt to see the rare and elusive Firefall. Every year, for a few weeks in February, the angle of the setting sun strikes Horsetail Falls and transforms it into cascading stream of glowing lava. Water flow, weather conditions, wind and cloud cover must align to create this stunning effect. I read stories of people who spent years trying to see the Firefall. These stories notwithstanding, our two-family band set out feeling hopeful.

As it happens, we were just one of about five bajillion other people who had jumped on the Firefall bandwagon. Some people were already set up and crowded at 11 a.m. We drove into the park to scope sites and we ended up near the El Cap Picnic area. Through a stroke of good luck – disguised as a scarily long parking line four hours before sunset – we found a secluded spot with a nice view. So, we set up to wait it out. Thank goodness for the big bag of Doritos Mike purchased at Curry Village!

As the afternoon progressed, the sky grew hazy and overcast. Bad news for Firefall watching. But, about an hour before sunset, the sky cleared! Massive internal hand clapping and excited jumping! When the water started to change colors, a swell of cheering erupted in pockets scattered throughout the forest and along the river. The clapping and shouts of joy continued as the water glowed more intensely. This glorious show united and mesmerized hundreds, if not thousands, of strangers. It was beautiful, surreal and better than any movie I’ve ever seen. Including Up.

The night before and the night after we were there, a patch of haze blocked the sun about 10 minutes before sunset, obscuring the Firefall. It seems the universe conspired to allow us to see this miracle of nature.

I felt like I was holding up my old, plastic, yellow and blue Fisher Price camera next to all the professional photographers with their fancy equipment and enormous lenses. I don’t know what I’m doing. But, here are a few pics I snapped of the Firefall. Goes without saying that real life was much much better. We were all overwhelmed with gratitude to have witnessed it in person.

On our way home the next day, I made everyone stop in a field of trees bursting with white blooms.

Another epic  weekend. Naturally, one adventure just inspires more. Next on the bucket list: Yosemite Moonbow. Anyone want to join me?